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School Choice Revoked!!!!


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Joined: Apr 18, 2008
Posts: 5
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Posted Apr 19, 2008 at 12:28:51 AM
Subject: School Choice Revoked!!!!

My son is a first grader. He was suspended in and out of school fifteen times between Sept. 4th, 2007 and January, 2008. His diagnosis is severe ADHD with impulsive behavior. He has an IEP. After hiring an advocate and finally having his IEP revised and a one on one para hired. I am now being told that I have to enroll my son in his home district at the end of this school year. Our choice application is being revoked due to discipline problems. It has been proven that his behavior is due to his disability. However, his behavior has improved over 90% since his IEP was modified, there's a one on one para and other accomodations were implemented. The letter came from the school principal.

Is this legal?

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Kathryn
Joined Oct 02, 2006
Posts: 172

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Posted:Apr 19, 2008 1:28:54 AM

I would definitely consult an advocate on this one if I were you.

We have a student at our school who is on an IEP and the family is moving this week to a nearby city (next city over). The child is in 5th grade and the parents wanted him to finish up his 5th grade year at our school since it is where he is most comfortable. The standard operating procedure is that when someone moves at the end of the school year like this the parents simply fill out an interdistrict transfer request and both principals agree that the student can stay. Afterall it is best for the student not to disrupt him. Well, our district gave them the boot! I think it's about special ed funds personally, but whatever. So sad.

Anyway, I would hate to accuse your district of the same thing, but it could be a motivation for wanting your son out. Especially if he is so young and they have to provide special ed for the next 11 years!

Kathryn

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cissie
Joined Apr 18, 2008
Posts: 5

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Posted:Apr 19, 2008 1:38:30 PM

Thank you. Funding is provided by my home district and because of the severity of his disability there's special funding from the Department of Education for the one on one para. Unfortunately the principal and assistant principal became angry when I requested a meeting that was recorded, several district administrators were invited and I had an advocate to represent my son. We met five times (a total of 20 hours) to revise my son's IEP,write a Functional Behavior Assessment, BIP etc. There were so many things the school was doing that was illegal. The district office tabled the first meeting because it was stated that they didn't have a leg to stand on. The school was given one week to do a full evaluation fo my son. They also had to provide a one on one para until testing was completed. Everything was really overwhelming, but it was amazing to see how the teachers and administrators attitudes changed from being negative and blunt towards me to being friendly and more understanding. Prior to that my son was being punished for petty things. He spent an entire day in the office and one day out of school suspension for yelling in class and spelling his words out loud while writing time during a spelling test. After the evaluations it was noted that he would be able to take all spelling tests alone because he has to say the letters while spelling them. He is also permitted to stand, walk around the school or go to the gym to unwhine.

Now this! I know that I had an extremely good lawsuit but decided not to pursue it. All I want is an appropriate education for my son. I guess I have to go a little further. I am inclined to believe this decision by the principal is a form of discrimination. My son is being asked to leave because of discipline problems that are said to be a part of his disability.

Please reply

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Kathryn
Joined Oct 02, 2006
Posts: 172

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Posted:Apr 20, 2008 12:38:37 AM

I totally feel for you and your son. We are not in the same situation at all, but have had a huge battle with the school district. I must say, however, that our school principal has been awesome. Every time I ask him a question about who has the final say on things, he says (without hesitation) "You do! You're the parent!!!" Unfortunately, when it comes to the district special ed department his hands are tied. Our private therapist said to me "You have most favored parent status with the principal and therefore you have too much power at the school".

Our battle has been different than yours, but in a way I feel as if they are trying to kick my daughter out of our neighborhood school. She was in the resource program with 40 mins x 4 days/week of resource help. Hardly anything in my opinion. Other kids had 2 hrs/day of resource help under the same exact program. They wanted to move her to a self contained special day class, but several teachers at the school have told me secretly "don't put her there no matter what. She does NOT belong there. You'd be better off home schooling her." I was not surprised because last year they offered something called special day class inclusion program, which meant upping her resource time to 1 hrx5 days/week! that was it! I declined because I didn't want her labeled SDC. They told me if I changed her to the inclusion program they could count her as 2 students. To me that was a major red flag. So, this year they said self contained classroom and wanted me to move her to a classroom at another school in our district! My daughter has anxiety problems in addition to language problems. The only reason she does not cry when I bring her to school right now is because she's finally gotten comfortable. I could not believe they wanted me to move her to another school with complete strangers while my other 2 kids would get to remain at our neighborhood school. We have an SDC at our school, but they did not recommend that as a first choice. they said she could go there as a second choice if we wanted her to. My daughter knows that the kids in that classroom have serious problems and she is NOT comfortable at all. Thankfully one of her former teachers spoke up at the IEP meeting this year and said that she doesn't belong in our school's SDC. The district conceded and told me it was not an appropriate class for her after they had initially told me it was a good second choice.

I think what kills me the most is the thought of removing her from a school where she is comfortable, and even more importantly she is happy, her siblings are there and it's around the corner from our house. The thought of moving her to a school clear across town, to another SDC, which by the way, was all boys, just about broke my heart for her. She would be devastated and would feel punished. She already knows that she has a problem with her language, but what keeps her going to school is that her friends are there, so to put her with no one she knows, would be like dropping her into a foreign country and not telling her why.

The other issue, maybe even more important, is that she is now getting 2hrs per day (which they offered us as soon as they received a letter from our advocate) and she is making progress and on her way towards meeting her IEP goals. I went and observed the classes at the other schools they offered and sent a letter declining their offer stating that the program is not appropriate and that her current program is appropriate. They responded to my letter saying they continue to offer the SDC because it is the most appropriate program for her. We are at a small school and I believe most of her resource room time is 1:1. If I move her to this other program, she could be in a class of 15 special needs kids who are much more severe than her with 1 teacher and 2 aids. That sounds like a decrease in services to me. From a ratio of 1:1 to a ratio of 5:1 more severely disabled kids. PLUS, the program they are using in the resource room now is the Lindamood Bell V/V program which I believe is helping her progress in reading. I asked the SDC teacher about that and her response was "we don't do that here". Not even something like "that sounds wonderful and I wish we could offer that here, but we don't." At least say something positive!!

I'm so sorry to ramble about our situation when you posted looking for answers. I hope someone else can answer your questions. I would consult your attorney. Is it possible to use the "stay put" piece of IDEA that states that unless the entire IEP team agrees to a change in placement the student is to remain in his current placement? Or does this not count as a change in placement?

As angry as I am at the district for wanting to change my daughter's placement, I find comfort knowing that they cannot move her to another placement without my consent unless they want to go to a due process hearing. Your case sounds like discrimination since his behavior problems are due to his disabilities and it has been documented. I know in our district a student can lose their spot at a school that they are attending as a transfer student under certain conditions, like excessive unexcused absences and maybe behavior is another case, but I'm not sure since we are not a transfer. We are at our home school.

Kathryn

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cissie
Joined Apr 18, 2008
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Posted:Apr 20, 2008 8:54:13 AM

Thank you, I find comfort in knowing that I am not alone in what seems to be an on going battle for my son. It's hard to believe that some administrators can be so cruel or heartless.

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Kathryn
Joined Oct 02, 2006
Posts: 172

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Posted:Apr 20, 2008 11:30:03 AM

What they seem to forget is that this is someone's child! I wonder if they get so caught up in their case load that our children are just another case to them and not actual human beings with feelings. It's as if they have ice water running through their veins.

One thing our private therapist told me to ask people is "what would you do if she were your daughter?". I would never ask the district people that, but people who know my daughter who are at the school and work with her on a regular basis. If I care to ask them to weigh in on this situation, this is how I would ask them.

The other thing is, the people who are making these decisions are the ones who have never met my daughter or the school psychologist who merely did a few days of testing, but does not work with her on a regular basis.

I'm sure the same is true of your situation. People who are making this decision do not know your son. They probably are not aware of how much better he is doing since he received the 1:1 para.

I always say in our situation, to know my daughter's history is to know her potential because she has come such a long long way. When she entered kindergarten she could barely put 3 words together. Now in 3rd grade she is reading at a level that is higher than her language skills! I have faith in her abilities and you do too with your son.

I didn't ask why you are transfered to another school. We are at a Title 1 school. Our state testing requires that we make improvements each year. If our scores do not go up a certain % then we could be put into sanctions (program improvement) and I believe that under certain conditions a parent has a right to transfer to another school if their home school is in program improvement mode, but I'm not sure which level of PI we have to be in for that to be our right. I'm on our school site council and learned last week that one of the schools they offered us for an SDC is going into year 2 of PI. These people REALLY don't care at all.

Kathryn

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DRHD
Joined Apr 29, 2008
Posts: 135

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Posted:Apr 29, 2008 4:25:46 PM

Simply put, if you are not a resident of the school district you have enrolled your child, the school district has no obligation to continue to educate your child to the extent there are serious behavior issues. As this is a child with an IEP, while enrolled in the district, they would need to follow disciplinary procedures of IDEA. In the final analysis, your child's entitlement to be educated in a school division of which he does not reside is not a guarantee or entitlement. It is a privilege and may be revoked at any time if the child does not demonstrate appropriate and responsible student behaviors. The only redress you may have may be from OCR but I think the school district has acted reasonably on behalf of your son's needs.

My advice is to cut your loss and proceed to the school district that has the true obligation to educate your son

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Kathryn
Joined Oct 02, 2006
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Posted:Apr 30, 2008 11:01:52 PM

DRHD, you are absolutely correct about the obligations of the district. They do not have an obligation to this student if he is not a resident of the district. I just wondered why they would kick him out for behavior issues if they were due to his disability. It actually shouldn't have anything to do with funding because special ed funds can be transferred and if I'm not mistaken, the home district has a right to say that they will not transfer funds to another district. I guess it sometimes comes down to the best interest of the child vs. administrators who do not think about the detriment of kicking a child out of school in the last couple of months of the school year. That is what concerns me.

Kathryn

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